RACINE — A Racine man has been charged in connection with a marijuana growing operation that police allegedly found in his basement on Dec. 13.

Jesse E. Ollarzabal Sr., 40, of the 1400 block of Summit Avenue, is charged with manufacture/delivery of marijuana and maintaining a drug trafficking place, both felonies.

According to the criminal complaint:

When they executed a search warrant at Ollarzabal’s Racine home, police reportedly found an area in the basement separated from the rest of the room with a tarp, where there was a grow light and two marijuana plants with un-harvested buds on them.

Also in the basement police reportedly found four more buckets containing harvested marijuana plants, as well as an additional harvested plant. Other items in the basement included an amp and timer, items that are both commonly used in marijuana growing operations.

According to police, on the main level of the home was a room with a jar containing large buds that tested positive for THC, as well as marijuana leaves that were hanging to dry. There were labels on the lids of the jars indicating various strains and types of marijuana.

Ollarzabal was not present during the search of the home, but interviewed with police the next day. He told them that he has mental health issues and he has used marijuana to help with those issues for his entire life.

He said that around a year ago, a marijuana dealer robbed him at gun point. He then decided that growing his own was safer than buying it on the street. He denied that he’d been selling the drug and said it was all for personal use. He said that no other members of his family were involved in cultivating or consuming the marijuana.

An adjourned initial appearance in the case is set for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 in the lower level hearing room of the Law Enforcement Center.

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